Death Takes a Holiday

From Gazette editions of December, 1934:

Two hundred and twenty-one men registered for employment on Lagoon Bridge when the office of registration was opened at the Mansion House, Vineyard Haven, by Fred E. Magee. A few others have registered since, swelling the number by a dozen or thereabouts. The scene during the registering was one that is rare on the Vineyard, as the men lined up and crowded together, nearly blocking Main street and necessitating the efforts of the town and state police officers to keep a lane clear for traffic. Previous to being formed into some semblance of order, the men swarmed into the sunporch of the hotel, which swayed and settled beneath their weight and will have to be repaired. Although all was peaceful, so far as actions were concerned, there were frequent wordy battles and arguments, one of the men maintaining that applicants in line had employment and were merely seeking to better their positions. Occasional jocular attempts were made to hustle some applicant out of the line, but it was apparent that there was an undercurrent of earnestness. It has been stated that fifty or sixty men will receive employment on the bridge, and it is assumed that they will be selected from the list according to the qualifications given with their names.

Organization of a Dukes County Bar Association by Island lawyers was completed last weekend. Judge Arthur W. Davis was elected president. The purpose of the new organization, which has adopted a schedule of minimum fees, is not to increase the costs of legal services, it is explained, but to eliminate the possibility of variation in charges and thus to make the choice of an attorney a purely personal matter. The arrangement, Island attorneys say, is usual in other places. By this means the person seeking legal advice knows the minimum fee for the service before he consults a lawyer and there is no incentive to go shopping for professional service. Part of the schedule is as follows:

Advice on any single matter: $2

Extended consultation with advice: $5

Drawing a will: $10

Death took a holiday on Wednesday morning — otherwise Harold Tilton, youngest son of Captain Zebulon Tilton of Vineyard Haven, would not be in the land of the living today. While he was at work upon his father’s schooner which was discharging coal at the steamboat dock, a wire pennant, securing the upper block of the cargo hoist, parted and the great block, together with the cargo boom, fell to the deck from the masthead. The tip of the boom struck the youth a glancing blow on the right shoulder, bruising it severely, but breaking no bones. The block passed over his head, missing him by a breath. The variation of an inch in the fall of either object would undoubtedly have caused the death of the young man. He was treated at the Marine Hospital.

A substantial amount of money will be spent by Vineyarders for Christmas gifts. How much of it will be spent on the Vineyard? A great volume of money is leaving the Island through the year and particularly at Christmas which would buy much greater satisfaction if it were spent here. In normal times Island businessmen can, perhaps, shrug their shoulders and let the drift continue. But with conditions as they are it is almost tragic for the Island that its own people do not look around them, explore their own stores, appreciate novelty here just as much as novelty on the mainland, and understand that offers of bargain prices from strange concerns far away are not by any means conclusive. Think, therefore, at Christmas time of the Island’s own welfare and happiness. Be sure to try shopping on the Vineyard.

To a Vineyarder cranberry sauce answers an inner longing, a homesickness which has no other proper reply. The Indians and the English in New England, a naturalist wrote in 1638, use many cranberries, boiling them with sugar for sauce to eat with their meat.

There is said to be one variety of cranberry which is native to Europe, but there is nothing in European culture which owes to the cranberry that distinctive, sufficing touch which the Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts derive from the crisp, ruddy fruit of the bogs. An encyclopedia says that the cranberry is never eaten as a dessert fruit. Of course not, unless it is in the form of a pie. The uses of the cranberry are so nearly approaching the ideal that they cannot be improved upon. Cranberry sauce, cranberry jelly, cranberry pies — all are degrees of the same priceless contribution to the dietary.

One could wish more cranberries were grown on Martha’s Vineyard, and that the bogs of the fathers were not slipping back into wild swamps.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner